Jayawardene to decide on future after Australia tour
Mahela Jayawardene will seriously re-assess his future as Sri Lanka's captain and as an international cricketer at the end of the tour of Australia.
"I am going to take it one series at a time especially after the Australian tour I will have time to think," he said. "I took on the responsibility to lead the team for one year and that will end after the Australian tour."
He was speaking before Sri Lanka left for Australia on a tour which includes a series of three Tests, five one-day internationals and twoTwenty20 internationals.
"(After the tour) I can sit back and think what I want to achieve not just for myself but for the team as well. I have always said that I am not a guy who will just hang around for the sake of playing. If the youngsters take on the responsibility and do the job for Sri Lanka then I will be very happy to step aside and give them that opportunity but at the same time I don't want the team in a situation where it will have a harmful effect.
"I want to make that transition as smooth as possible. I don't want to let go all the good things that's been done all these years and just walk away from that. I will sit down and talk to a few people that I talk to usually when it comes to taking a decision and have a chat with the selectors as well especially with the captaincy position, then it will be much easier for me to make a call on what I want to do in my career."
Jayawardene is of the view that it would be the right time to hand over the captaincy to his deputy Angelo Mathews who has been groomed for the position over the past year or so. "Angelo hasn't had the experience of leading the team at international level I agree but the way he led the provincial and SLPL teams to reach the final was most commendable.
"As a deputy he has contributed on the field and off the field and that is something that the public and others don't see. He is very mature. The other important thing is he's earned the respect of all the players, the younger and older players.
"In a way personally I feel that it would be better for him to be captain while there are some senior hands around in the team to help him rather than him taking over when there is no one. You can look at it in different ways.
"You never know whether he can handle the situation unless you give him that opportunity. There were a few issues when I took over the captaincy and to a certain extent I've been able to settle them. The team is more focused on what they want to achieve now. It is a much settled set-up. It could be the right time to give Angelo the captaincy."
One of the priorities of the team is to win a Test in Australia. It is an achievement that has eluded many past Sri Lankan captains. Whether the present team has it in them to tame Australia at this moment of time seems questionable.
"No one gave us a chance to win in South Africa they were the No. 1 team and to beat them on their home soil was a very big achievement," Jayawardene said. "We have the capacity and the talent to go and win a match but how consistently we can do it is something we have to challenge ourselves, that's where we lack. We are definitely in a position to go and beat Australia and put pressure on them.
"When we played Australia in the last one-day series we actually handled their bowlers in their conditions. We do play much better when we are in that kind of situation when it is more challenging and the conditions tough. We've shown that in South Africa and in Australia in the ODI series when the Indians got bamboozled against the same attack we were beating. We didn't perform against New Zealand when we had a bad Test match. We had a couple of sessions that we didn't play well. It doesn't mean that if we challenge their (Australian) bowling unit and if we adapt and play better cricket there we can't hold them on level terms.
"It's very much a mental thing. You have to be mentally stronger to beat Australia. They will come at us. Everyone will know what you have to do in Australia so knowing how you tackle that situation is the most important thing. In a way it's like when you know what going to happen you sometimes know too much about it and then you fall into a trap rather than just concentrate on your strengths. That would be the way to go."
Whether Sri Lanka wins a Test in Australia or not Jayawardene stated that there was no substitute to winning a fifty-over World Cup. "Ask any international cricketer, winning a 50-over World Cup will be one of their priorities. That would always be my disappointment if I don't win a World Cup before I retire. Definitely winning a Test in Australia would be brilliant. We won a Test match in West Indies we've done that in South Africa, in New Zealand and in England. We haven't won a Test in Australia and India so we must try and get those two opportunities before I hang up."